Paul Rokosz took over the ailing American Express AXP Strategy Aggressive Fund/A (ISAAX) last June with a mandate to make it a star performer.
For the 38-year-old Rokosz, it’s his first shot as the solo manager of a retail fund. He had co-managed another American Express offering, AXP Equity Select Fund/A (INVPX), for two years with Duncan Evered.
And he had been running institutional money with Evered and Gordon Fines, who has managed AXP New Dimensions Fund/A (INNDX) for 12 years.
Rokosz inherited a fund concentrated in telecom and tech.
“That is where change was needed most,” said Rokosz. “There were better opportunities for growth in other areas.”
And the concentration in sectors made the fund too volatile.
One part of running a fund, Rokosz allows, is stock selection. But another key part is risk management.
“The question is how do you build a successful portfolio and trade off risk and reward,” Rokosz said.
In Rokosz’s case, he cut the number of names from more than 140 to under 90, sold off tech and telecom and spread money among more industry groups. Much of the money went into health care.